Gone, but not forgotten

Danny Boyle’s memory lives on through a scholarship created in his name. The fund has distributed more than a half-million dollars to disadvantaged students.

In lov­ing memory: Danny Boyle’s par­ents, Pat (pic­tured) and Nancy, foun­ded the schol­ar­ship fund soon after their son’s passing 23 years ago. On Feb. 22, an an­nu­al fun­drais­ing so­cial will be held in­side the new headquar­ters of the Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

Danny Boyle died 23 years ago, but hun­dreds of fam­il­ies con­tin­ue to har­vest the re­wards of the slain po­lice of­ficer’s pub­lic ser­vice and his ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice.

On Sat­urday, Feb. 22, the schol­ar­ship fund cre­ated in Boyle’s name will host its an­nu­al fun­drais­ing so­cial at Her­oes Hall in­side the new headquar­ters of the Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5.

Fam­ily, friends and former col­leagues of Boyle, who at 21 was the young­est Philly cop ever killed in the line of duty, will gath­er over a meal and some adult bever­ages to cel­eb­rate his life and sup­port his leg­acy of help­ing ded­ic­ated but less for­tu­nate stu­dents at sev­er­al Arch­dioces­an schools pay their tu­itions.

Boyle’s par­ents, Pat and Nancy, foun­ded the schol­ar­ship fund soon after their son’s passing. Now, a vo­lun­teer board keeps the pro­gram run­ning smoothly. The fund has dis­trib­uted more than a half-mil­lion dol­lars to stu­dents at Arch­bish­op Ry­an, St. Chris­toph­er’s in Somer­ton, St. Veron­ica’s in Hunt­ing Park and St. Gab­ri­el’s in Grays Ferry over the years. 

“You won­der how do these kids have the en­ergy to get out of bed and go to school every day,” Nancy Boyle said.

To ap­ply for a schol­ar­ship, stu­dents must write an es­say de­tail­ing the chal­lenges that they face. In­vari­ably, their stor­ies are heart­break­ing.

One boy’s dad died when he was 8. He and his mom moved in­to her par­ents’ home. The mom held two jobs to sup­port them un­til the grand­moth­er fell and broke her hip. The grand­par­ents al­most lost the house to fore­clos­ure and are fil­ing for bank­ruptcy.

One girl lost both her moth­er and fath­er with­in 11 months when she and her sis­ter were much young­er. Now, they live with an aunt and uncle, who have two kids of their own and pay tu­ition for every­one, mak­ing many per­son­al sac­ri­fices.

An­oth­er schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent has over­come aut­ism to be­come an ex­cel­lent stu­dent, al­though he still finds simple tasks dif­fi­cult, such as ty­ing his shoes, and he finds it hard to make friends. Re­cently, his fath­er lost his job, leav­ing the fam­ily with no in­come and big cred­it card debts.

Doc­tors dia­gnosed yet an­oth­er stu­dent with leuk­emia when he was still in grade school. By the time he en­rolled at Ry­an, he was in the midst of chemo­ther­apy and bone mar­row treat­ments. As a fresh­man, he tripped and broke his ankle and missed three weeks of school. Yet, he fin­ished the school year on the aca­dem­ic hon­ors list.

“It’s heart­warm­ing to read some of them be­cause it makes it all worth­while to know that we’re help­ing some­body,” Pat Boyle said. “You see the dire need and you know the fam­il­ies are com­mit­ted to the edu­ca­tion of the kids.”

The fund uses vari­ous meth­ods to raise money. On May 5, it will host its 23rd golf out­ing at Northamp­ton Val­ley Coun­try Club in Rich­boro. The event draws 144 golfers each year.

“It’s been sold out every year since we began,” Pat Boyle said.

Cor­por­a­tions have been gen­er­ous over the years, too, in­clud­ing Waste Man­age­ment, Ve­r­i­zon and Uni­ver­sal Health­care. Ac­cord­ing to Pat Boyle, busi­nesses can earn tax be­ne­fits by donat­ing through the Edu­ca­tion­al Im­prove­ment Tax Cred­it pro­gram.

But next week’s so­cial is per­haps the biggest single activ­ity. The Boyles hope to at­tract about 500 people. This is the first year in the FOP hall. They used to hold it at Finnigan’s Wake in North­ern Liber­ties.

“(FOP Pres­id­ent) John McNesby has been a good friend to us for a long time and said, ‘You have to have it here,’ ” Pat Boyle said. “(Finnigan’s own­er) Mike Driscoll, who’s on our board, said it be­longs there, in Her­oes Hall.”

This year, the so­cial will have an ele­ment of frus­tra­tion after a Com­mon Pleas Court judge last month over­turned the death sen­tence for Danny Boyle’s mur­der­er. Judge M. Teresa Sarmina ruled that the killer could not be put to death be­cause he is men­tally dis­abled. The Boyles, the FOP and Dis­trict At­tor­ney Seth Wil­li­ams aren’t buy­ing it. Wil­li­ams has said he will ap­peal the rul­ing. Shortly after the rul­ing, Sarmina left the crim­in­al bench and ac­cep­ted a civil court ap­point­ment.

“I’d rather not have the no­tori­ety, but Sarmina put us in a situ­ation now,” said Pat Boyle, who cred­ited Wil­li­ams along with as­sist­ant DAs Ed­ward Mc­Cann, Robin God­frey and Tracy Cavanaugh with fight­ing re­lent­lessly on their be­half.

Mean­while, Danny Boyle and his schol­ar­ship fund will con­tin­ue fight­ing for dis­ad­vant­aged stu­dents.

“We have kids in col­lege, too,” Pat Boyle said. “There are three in col­lege right now.”

The top aca­dem­ic per­former each year among schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents at Ry­an earns a $2,000 grant to­ward col­lege tu­ition. Cur­rently, stu­dents at­tend La Salle, Widen­er and Al­ver­nia.

“The stor­ies are very sad, a lot of them,” Nancy Boyle said. “It’s nice to be able to help people.”

“Hope­fully, this will con­tin­ue long after I’m gone,” Pat Boyle said.

Tick­ets to the Of­ficer Daniel Boyle Schol­ar­ship Fund an­nu­al so­cial cost $35 and are avail­able by call­ing Pat at 215-964-3497 or Tom at 215-900-6379. In­form­a­tion about the fund is avail­able at of­fi­cerd­aniel­boyle.com ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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